Here at Baseless Fabric we are pretty passionate about giving everybody a chance to experience theatre and opera. Opera in particular is frequently seen as an art form that isn’t for ‘everyone’ and we truly believe it is and that everyone should have the chance to experience it. Luckily we have several wonderful funders who agree with this idea, including the brilliant Wimbledon Foundation who support charities in our home borough of Merton.
We were lucky enough to attend the exciting Wimbledon Championships this year and Artistic Director Joanna Turner was interviewed about the work that Baseless Fabric are doing to bring opera to new audiences and the opera workshops for young people and the elderly that Wimbledon Foundation have so kindly supported.
We’ve had a great time with organisations such as Friends of St Helier talking to their older people’s lunch clubs and showing them filming of our street opera performances. We even got them playing the Zip Zap Boing game! And the lucky New Horizon Centre lunch club will again experience our opera live in a couple of weeks when our Pollards Hill performance starts in their café!
Our workshops teaching young people in both primary and secondary schools across the borough about opera have been really fantastic. Over the last couple of weeks and earlier in the year we have engaged about 375 young people as part of our Cosi Fan Tutte project, most of whom had no or extremely little previous experience of opera. They had certainly never heard a professional opera singer sing next to them before and were amazed to hear Felicity Buckland’s voice up close and personal (how is she so loud?!).
They also learnt about the different sections of the orchestra and conducting from our MD Leo Geyer, and how to sing and act out a section of Dorabella and Guglielmo’s love duet from Cosi Fan Tutte. Thanks to all the students for their incredible enthusiasm, concentration and bravery in giving singing and acting a go!
We’ll be back to Jigsaw4u in a few weeks for another workshop with their wonderful young people. But meanwhile, there’s the small issue of rehearsing the opera with our professional singers and instrumentalists, and getting the performances ready to bring it to you on the high street by 27th July. Better get to work!!
— Philippa Jackson (@HollymountHeadT) February 24, 2017
— Wimbledon Foundation (@WimbledonFdn) July 14, 2017